Odisha EOW Nabs Fraudsters in ₹5 Crore Agri-Equipment Subsidy Scam

Bhubaneswar: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in Bhubaneswar has arrested Prahallad Meshua from Bheden, Bargarh, on charges of misappropriating a subsidy amount of Rs 5 crore meant for agri-equipment.

Meshua, who was an authorized dealer of M/s Varushapriya Agrotech Pvt. Ltd., colluded with the company’s former regional manager, Srinath Rana, to upload false information about over 556 paddy transplanters on the Agriculture Department’s Direct Benefit Transfer portal. They used fake engine and chassis numbers and fabricated names and photos of farmers to show the transplanters were supplied to beneficiaries. As a result, they managed to fraudulently receive about Rs 716 crore in subsidies from the government.

After receiving the subsidy amounts, the accused enticed the farmers with small token amounts while pocketing the major portion of the subsidy. The actual cost of the transplanters ranged from Rs 2.33 to Rs 3 lakh, while the government was granting subsidies ranging from Rs 93,320 to Rs 1.50 lakh.

Investigations have revealed that out of the 556 paddy transplanters, 54 were fraudulently shown to have been sold by Meshua. He is currently in police custody and the case is still under investigation.

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